About Certification

National Certified Guardian (NCG)

The National Certified Guardian designation is granted to individuals who have met the minimum eligibility standards for CGC Certification including the necessary training and testing requirements. The designation must be renewed every two years as long as eligibility and continuing education requirements are met.

National Master Guardian (NMG)

National Master Guardians are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues pertaining to guardianships of both the person and of the estate. The prerequisites for the National Master Guardian certification include National Certified Guardian status from the CGC, extensive professional guardianship experience, submission of a comprehensive application and passing a qualifying examination. The designation must be renewed every three years as long as eligibility and continuing education requirements are met.


The Center for Guardianship Certification (CGC) certification is a national designation that requires applicants to attest that they have no felony convictions, civil or criminal liability findings and that they are in good standing with any state legal requirements, bonding or other local jurisdictional requirements. Applicants must pay a fee, meet minimum eligibility standards and pass a competency test. They must also swear or affirm that they will adhere to the provisions of the National Guardianship Association (NGA) Standards of Practice in their work as a guardian.

While some states may have certification, licensure, registration or other requirements, not all states do. You should check your state’s particular guardianship laws and regulations for specific requirements. Click here for more information.

CGC certification sets a guardian apart from non‐certified guardians as someone who has met nationally recognized requirements, including related education or experience, and passing a competency examination. Please also see the Public Policy Statement on Certification.

You are required to submit an application for certification in which you must attest that you meet minimum eligibility requirements and have no prior felony convictions or civil judgments, and have not been removed from a case for cause. You must pay an application fee, and receive a passing score on the CGC national certification exam. The CGC exam is based on “core competencies” designed to measure successful job performance, including knowledge of national professional standards. Click here for more information about certification requirements. Click here for more information about the exam.

The period of certification is two years for NCGs and three years for NMGs. You must submit your application for recertification no less than 30 days prior to the expiration of your current certification term.

The CGC and the NGA are very different organizations with different missions. The CGC’s sole mission is to enhance the quality of guardianship services by providing examination and certification of guardians and fiduciaries. The NGA is a professional membership organization. See “Myths and Facts about NGA and CGC.”

For a guardian to be appointed, a court must determine that the individual is “incapacitated.” While state definitions of incapacity vary, it typically means partial or complete functional impairment making them unable to manage their personal or financial affairs due to mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, or chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication or other cause. In certain circumstances, a guardian of a minor may be appointed since a minor is considered incapacitated as a result of their age. Guardianship should be a last resort, and only as necessary to promote and protect the well being of the individual. Guardianship should include the least restrictive means necessary, and the preference is for a limited level of guardianship, rather than full (plenary) guardianship.

Guardians are appointed by the courts under state laws designed specifically for this purpose. Court procedures typically require due process protections for the alleged incapacitated person and result in the entry of court orders to remove and delegate to the guardian only those individual rights that the proposed protected person is incapable of handling.